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Secondary school students to study in Slovenian in Rijeka

Rijeka, 8 October - A secondary school in the Croatian port city of Rijeka started teaching Slovenian on Friday in what is a result of years of efforts of the Slovenian community living in the city. So far, Slovenian has been taught in four primary schools in the region, of which two are in Rijeka.

The First Sušak Croatian Gymnasium thus became the first secondary school in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County to which the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education approved the introduction of Slovenian as a subject.

Slovenian will be an optional subject taught two to five times a week, depending on the number of students attending. So far eight students have applied.

Apart from the language and literature, students will also learn about Slovenia's geography and history, and music and art.

Klemen Lah, who also teaches Slovenian at the Faculty of Arts in Croatia's Zadar, will teach the subject.

He told the STA that eight students was a "promising start". He is confident that with joint efforts this number will increase in the coming years.

Some practical issues have not been clarified yet, but "for now it's important that we overcome any obstacles that may arise with great enthusiasm and joy, which I'm sure we will," he said.

Lah hopes the interest in Slovenian at the Rijeka school will be similar to that at the faculties of arts in Rijeka and Zadar. "After initial caution - students too first want to check the quality of a subject - we can say the interest is great and unfortunately we must sometimes turn down students."

Lah is, however, concerned by the changes to the foreigners act in Slovenia that introduce stricter conditions for foreign students studying in the country. "I fear this will affect many students who want to study in Slovenia, including those of Slovenian descend," he said.

In the last school year, 229 pupils and students attended Slovenian classes in Croatian primary and secondary schools, mostly in Istria and the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Barbara Riman, the head of the Association of Slovenian Societies in Croatia, told the STA.

She said talks were under way with the Rijeka municipality on establishing a Slovenian kindergarten, so that all levels of education would be covered, from kindergarten to university.

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© STA, 2021